Safeguarding security, which was key to legislation last year, will continue to be a major task for legislators in the years ahead, lawmakers and experts said.
In addition to improvements to national security made through legislation last year, ensuring the security of individuals and their personal information has been highlighted and written into the draft provisions of a new, unified Chinese Civil Code.
The draft was reviewed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the country’s top legislature, three times last year, and it is ready to be deliberated during the two sessions, which will begin this week in Beijing.
Reading and discussing important drafts or draft amendments is a key job during the annual sessions of the National People’s Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, two vital political events in China.
Hou Xinyi, a law professor at Tianjin University of Finance and Economics and a member of the CPPCC, the top political advisory body, said he keeps an eye on developments in the nation’s legal system.
“I pay attention to the protection of privacy data and information security, so I’m glad to see these are noted in the draft,” Hou said, adding that he looks forward to discussing the draft and hopes it can protect the rights of all citizens.
Yin Libo, chief engineer at the Electronic Technology Intelligence Research Institute of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said it is necessary to protect information security through legislation.
As a security expert, she applauded the Cybersecurity Law, which was approved by the top legislature in November. She said she hopes it can play a role in speeding up the establishment of internet infrastructure and protection of national security when it takes effect in June.
Last year, a legal framework to protect national security was established following the introduction of five security-related laws, according to Liang Ying, director of the research office of the Standing Committee’s Legal Affairs Commission.
The five laws include two — the Cybersecurity Law and the law on regulating activities of overseas NGOs — that were made last year, as well as the National Security Law, the Anti-Terrorism Law and the Counterespionage Law, which were approved in recent years, Liang said.
“The laws have established our legal system to ensure national security, and are a strong echo of enforcing the national security concept put forward by the central leadership in 2014,” he said.
Other security-related drafts will be discussed in the top legislature, such as ones on nuclear safety and seabed exploration, “which also aim to reinforce the legal framework and help the country overcome security challenges at home and abroad”, Liang added.
Commission member Guo Linmao said national security relies not only on legislation, but also law enforcement.
For example, he cited the law on regulating the activities of overseas NGOs, effective since Jan 1, noting that violators will be punished, no matter where they are from.
“We welcome overseas NGOs to conduct activities, such as charities, and will protect their interests and provide them with convenience in accordance with the law,” he said.
“But we’ve found some NGOs still disobey the law, such as by registering as an enterprise,” he said.
“We never close our door to anyone, but we hope to ensure that activities in our country are safe and regulated,” he added.